Archive - April 20, 2021

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“Hurricane Greta” by Alan Jackson (Belize)
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Why the Peace Corps’ Mission Is Needed Now More Than Ever
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Volunteers to America: The Reverse Peace Corps

“Hurricane Greta” by Alan Jackson (Belize)

    I was a Peace Corps Volunteer assigned to the Fisheries Unit Laboratory in Belize City from August 1976 to October 1978. Initially I stayed in a small boarding house on Prince Street during a four-week Peace Corps orientation. After that I was expected to find my own housing. My monthly stipend was BZ$300 (US$150) a month, which would have to cover all my living expenses. Most Peace Corps Volunteers in Belize City doubled or tripled up and shared flats wherever they could find reasonable rent. I had heard good things about a family that had just hosted two Volunteers during our orientation. One of those Volunteers decided to continue boarding with that family while the other was moving to his jobsite in San Antonio, Toledo District. I asked the family if I could board with them, and they welcomed me into their home. They were a young and . . .

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Why the Peace Corps’ Mission Is Needed Now More Than Ever

    On its 60th anniversary, a moment of reckoning arrives for the nation’s globe-trotting volunteers By Miranda Moore (Uganda 2009–11) SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE MAY 2021   In March 2020, at the start of Covid-19 lockdowns, as flights were grounded and people around the world sheltered in place, 7,000-odd Peace Corps volunteers serving in 61 nations came home to an uncertain future. Many worried that the Peace Corps might even have to shut down permanently. That hasn’t happened, but the nation’s foremost global volunteer organization has no volunteers in the field for the first time since its founding 60 years ago. Practicing a uniquely American blend of idealism and realpolitik, the agency was conceived in October 1960, when Senator John F. Kennedy made a 2 a.m. campaign speech at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Kennedy, then running for president, challenged 10,000 students assembled outside the Student Union to use their . . .

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Volunteers to America: The Reverse Peace Corps

  by Neil Boyer (Ethiopia 1962-64) April 18, 2021 • After I returned from Ethiopia, where I had served in the Peace Corps from 1962 to 1964, I went to work at Peace Corps headquarters on Lafayette Square in Washington. Harris Wofford had recruited some former volunteers in Ethiopia and other places to work with him on his seemingly limitless ideas. I helped him and others flesh out the idea of creating a “reverse peace corps” that would bring teachers and social workers from other countries to work in the United States. It was exactly a reverse of the Peace Corps concept, with volunteers selected by sending countries and supervised and administered by receiving agencies in the United States. Argentina would choose and send volunteers, for example, and US officials in OEO, the Department of Education and private agencies would supervise them. The program was called Volunteers TO America (VTA). . . .

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